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ON A CORNELIAN HEART WHICH WAS
ILL-FATED Heart! and can it be
That thou shouldst thus be rent in twain ?
Alike been all employ'd in vain ?
Yet precious seems each shatter'd part,
And every fragment dearer grown,
A fitter emblem of his own.
(This poem and the following were written some years ago.]
TO A YOUTHFUL FRIEND.
Were firmest friends, at least in name,
Preserved our feelings long the same.
me, too well thou know'st What trifles oft the heart recall; And those who once have loved the most
Too soon forget they loved at all.
And such the change the heart displays,
So frail is early friendship's reign,
Will view thy mind estranged again.
If so, it never shall be mine
To mourn the loss of such a heart; The fault was Nature's fault, not thine,
Which made thee fickle as thou art.
As rolls the ocean's changing tide,
So human feelings ebb and flow; And who would in a breast confide
Where stormy passions ever glow ?
It boots not, that together bred,
Our childish days were days of joy; My spring of life has quickly fled;
Thou, too, hast ceased to be a boy.
And when we bid adieu to youth,
Slaves to the specious world's control, We sigh a long farewell to truth;
That world corrupts the noblest soul.
Ah, joyous season! when the mind
Dares all things boldly but to lie; When thought ere spoke is unconfined,
And sparkles in the placid eye.
Not so in Man's maturer years,
When Man himself is but a tool; When interest sways our hopes and fears,
And all must love and hate by rule.
With fools in kindred vice the same,
We learn at length our faults to blend, And those, and those alone may
claim The prostituted name of friend.
Such is the common lot of man:
Can we then 'scape from folly free? Can we reverse the general plan,
Nor be what all in turn must be ?
No, for myself, so
fate Through every turn of life hath been; Man and the world I so much hate,
I care not when I quit the scene.
But thou, with spirit frail and light,
Wilt shine awhile and pass away; As glow-worms sparkle through the night,
But dare not stand the test of day.
Alas! whenever folly calls
Where parasites and princes meet, (For cherish'd first in royal balls,
The welcome vices kindly greet,)
Ev'n now thou'rt nightly seen to add
One insect to the fluttering crowd ; And still thy trifling heart is glad,
To join the vain, and court the proud.
There dost thou glide from fair to fair,
Still simpering on with eager haste, As flies along the gay parterre,
That taint the flowers they scarcely taste.
But say, what nymph will prize the flame
Which seems, as marshy vapours move, To flit along from dame to dame,
An ignis-fatuus gleam of love?
What friend for thee, howe'er inclined,
Will deign to own a kindred care? Who will debase his manly mind, For friendship every fool may
In time forbear; amidst the throng
No more so base a thing be seen; No more so idly pass along:
Be something, any thing, but-mean.